Meet Hearo.fm, Philly's own SoundCloud competitor - Technical.ly Philly

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Aug. 21, 2015 8:07 am

Meet Hearo.fm, Philly’s own SoundCloud competitor

Brothers Andrew and Brian Antar, who grew up playing violin in Philly youth orchestras, returned to Philadelphia to launch their startup after stints in Silicon Valley and Austin.
Hearo.fm cofounders Andrew (left) and Brian Antar at their SXSW booth in 2015.

Hearo.fm cofounders Andrew (left) and Brian Antar at their SXSW booth in 2015.

(Courtesy photo)

Brothers Andrew and Brian Antar want to build a better streaming music service. One that pays musicians fairly and helps them find fans.

They launched their startup, Hearo.fm, at South by Southwest in March. It features more than 4,000 indie artists, who are organized geographically, though the obvious drawback is that you can’t always find what you’re looking for. (Right now, all the artists listed on the site have listed themselves, a la SoundCloud.) They plan to partner with distribution companies like The Orchard to get more music on the platform, Andrew Antar said.

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Hearo.fm lets users download songs (artists set the price) and 90 percent of the proceeds go back to the artists, the founders said through a spokesman. Users can also “tip” musicians. They take a 10 percent sales commission and are developing other revenue streams.

The brothers Antar, who grew up in the Penn Valley area in Montgomery County and used to play violin in local youth orchestras, have raised $350,000 from angel investors, including Andy Hertzfeld, one of the original Mac developers, and Aniello “Neil” Callari, an Austin-based ad exec. (They said they met Hertzfeld at a lunch in Palo Alto.)

The launch of their startup comes after stints in Silicon Valley and Austin, where Andrew Antar, 25, and Brian Antar, 26, lived after graduating from Brown and Penn in 2012. They came back to Philly, though — they live near Gladwyne — for a number of reasons, like family, the city’s thriving music scene, the Union League (of which they are both members, according to LinkedIn), local angel investors and free office space, they said through a spokesman. They work out of a family-owned warehouse space in Frankford. It was a space that used to be a warehouse for Valu-Plus, their father Elie Antar’s retail chain that he sold in 2010 (the local Valu-Pluses, like the one in Center City, have since shuttered). Their father also invested in the company.

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Andrew Antar has done work for Northern Liberties dev firm Jarvus Innovations, while Brian Antar most recently worked in operations for Philly tahini company Soom Foods. They have two other full-time team members.

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